Metrotown Community Town Hall: The Violent Cycle of Evictions

When: Wednesday, June 6th 2018, 6:30pm –
Where: Burnaby Neighbourhood House (4460 Beresford Street) across from the Metrotown Skytrain Station on occupied Coast Salish Territories

1. Endless Cycle of Demovictions

For an ever growing number of Metrotown tenants, the demoviction cycle begins with their building being sold. This causes a lot of stress as they try to figure out, usually alone, what is happening to their homes. Then the new landlords allow the building to deteriorate, abandoning repairs and maintenance in anticipation of redevelopment and massive profits. Tenants are forced to live in conditions of disrepair which compound the anxiety of an impending eviction.

As conditions worsen, some tenants are pressured to leave early while others face renoviction or demoviction notices. Once evicted, those able to find new housing often face rent increases and longer commutes to work, school and amenities. The economic pressure of higher rents and the looming possibility of impending sale and redevelopment casts the shadow of yet another eviction, and the cycle begins again. Among all of this uncertainty and stress, only housing precarity is guaranteed.

2. What keeps it spinning?

All levels of government and corporate developer-landlords work together to consolidate power in the hands of those who own property, locking tenants into a violent cycle of demovictions. Pushing people out of their homes and communities for the sake of private property ownership and the accumulation of profit is how colonialism and capitalism work. These systems of power dispossess Indigenous people of their land and ways of life, and displace working class tenants from their homes; and the state establishes laws and institutions to support it.

3. Where can we turn to stop it?

As Mayor Corrigan and Burnaby City Council’s callous hostility at the May 29th Public Hearing demonstrates, governments refuse to acknowledge the concerns of tenants. The provincial Residential Tenancy Act upholds the power of landlords by placing total responsibility on tenants to navigate complicated systems that require extensive time and resources. Mainstream media publishes news that doesn’t upset their corporate advertisers and so reinforces the status quo of concentrated wealth and power. And talking to landlord-developers is useless because they act in the interest of their own profits, not the needs of their tenants. So what can we do?

4. Building Collective Power

The Tenant Eviction Defense Network believes that only by tenants organizing themselves, supporting each other and resisting together can we break the endless cycle of demovictions. The government or the corporate landlords won’t stop our constant displacement; it’s up to us to put a wrench in the spokes of the demoviction machine. Join us on Wednesday, June 6th at 6:30pm at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House (4460 Beresford Street, third floor) across from the Metrotown Skytrain Station to plan how we can fight together to break the cycle of demovictions.